Orlando Magic coach Frank Vogel (still seems strange) was a guest on ESPN's Mike & Mike radio/tv show Monday morning where he discussed his new job with the Magic along with his perspective on how and why the Pacers let him go after his contract expired.
Natually, Vogel took the high road while discussing the Pacers, repeatedly praising the organization, Larry Bird and the Simon family for the opportunity and support they gave him at the Fieldhouse. He also strayed away from any note-worthy comments with regard to the reasons behind his departure, essentially confirming Bird's belief that while three-years isn't necessarily the limit for an NBA coach's voice to lose impact with his team, Bird did feel Vogel's voice was losing impact and the team needed to hear someone new.
"I was in the last year of my contract so all year I did have an understanding this could happen and you have to respect Larry Bird and the Pacers franchise for making a tough call but doing what they feel is right," Vogel said.
"He (Bird) did say at a certain point in time, changing the voice of a head coach is good for an organization, and he felt like this was the right time for the Pacers. It's natural, not anything really indicting of me or the job I did but that he has always felt like that type of change can be good for a franchise."
Vogel also diminished the thought that he and Bird were at philisophical odds about how the team should play.
"There was a lot made when this all came out about Larry vs. Frank and the differences, but really throughout the whole process we were very well aligned. It was just a matter of the feeling that a change in the voice of the head coach could give the franchise a boost. So it wasn't about a difference of opinion or a difference of philosophy, it was really just about change."
Toward the end though, Vogel was able to slide in one of the all-time subtle digs to fully defend the winning and post-season success the team did have while he was in charge. Throughout the interview, Vogel was his normal positive, can-do self and maintained that tone as he laid this zinger down soft as cotton while answering how he plans to approach using the young Magic roster.
"I think every team is different. When you have your roster set up in different ways, you really just have to really examine your roster, find out their strengths and weaknesses. Hopefully, you take your roster and the vision you want to implement of how you want to play and you can tweak your roster to create that," Vogel said.
"I think, going into Orlando, we're going to try to highlight all the successes we had with Indiana in terms of taking that young group that we had with Paul George and Lance Stephenson and Roy Hibbert, some of those guys, Tyler Hansbrough, Josh McRoberts, Darren Collision and just molding them into winners, and showing them the discipline that's necessary to win basketball games. That's what I hope to bring to the Orlando Magic and this young group."
My initial thought was: That's odd he's touting the success of Hibbert, Lance, Collison, Hansbrough and McRoberts. Then I just started laughing out loud realizing, the comment was really saying: Look! Don't forget my teams pushed the Heatles to the edge in the playoffs with guys like Hibbert, Lance, Collison, Hansbrough and McRoberts playing significant roles in the rotation!
Well played, Frank and yes, it was impressive.